Jiu Gorge National Park
Jiu Gorge National Park is located in the territory of Gorj and Hunedoara counties, along Jiu’s Valley that separates Parâng from Vâlcan Mountains. The park can be accessed by car from DN66 National Road and also E79. The northern access is done through Petroşani, and the southern through Târgu-Jiu and Bumbeşti-Jiu. The road is extremely spectacular, but filled with curves, and can be dangerous at the same time as there is always the danger of rock falls.
Jiu Gorge can also be reached by train on the Târgu-Jiu-Petroşani route. You can get off the train at one of the stations in the park: Valea Sadului, Meri, Lainici, Pietrele Albe or Strâmbuţa.
This too is a spectacular route with tunnels and viaducts.
The park’s visitation centre is in Bumbeşti-Jiu, Gorj County. Opening hours: Monday-Friday 09:00-15:00.
Entrance fee: Yes.
Spectacular, wild and full of surprises, that is how one can define the Jiu Valley along its slanting journey through the Southern Carpathians.
In 2005, the Jiu Gorge National Park was commissioned because of its valuable grottos, gorges and spectacular waterfalls, but also to preserve the hundreds of species of flora and fauna found here.
Covered almost entirely by virgin and quasi-virgin forests of beech and evergreen oak, its main attraction is the 33 km Jiu Gorge between Bumbeşti-Jiu and Livezeni.
You will be awestruck by what nature has created over millions of years. The beauty of the wild landscapes will overwhelm you.
In the Jiu Gorge National Park there are a few nature reserves worthy of your attention such as Piatra Sfinxul Lainicilor, Stâncile Rafailă, Pădurea Chitu-Bratcu sau Pădurea Gornicel.
If you would like to go hiking, there are two thematic trails: one leaves from Meri train station and the other near Lainici Monastery.
Also, the park offers the best conditions for rafting and canoeing. Other eco-touristic activities are cycling and wildlife watching.
The park can be visited with a guide from the administration of the park.
Even though the park is mostly wild and mysterious it also harbors a series of historical and cultural vestiges such as Lainici Monastery or the Museum of Vernacular Architecture Curtişoara, where you can admire traditional artifacts of everyday life of the locals.
Also present here are the Roman vestiges like those near Bumbeşti-Jiu, while at the entrance of the Gorge, the ruins of the Vişina Monastery can still be observed. The monastery was built in the 15th century by Prince Mircea the Elder (1386- 1418).
Through its strategic position, the Jiu Gorge is also a historical site. This is where the battles between the Romanian and German armies were fought during the first World War.
Built between 1924-1948 in several stages, it is a monument of Romanian technique.
Did you know?
The “Grand Canyon of the Southern Carpathians” as the Jiu Gorges is called, is the place where the most spectacular and difficult railway in Romania was built. This is the most concentrated railway network in a gorge in the whole world, with its 39 tunnels and 35 bridges and viaducts.
The Jiu Gorge National Park is a protected area of national and European interest and is also included in the European network of natural areas - Natura 2000.
The park is an important corridor for the migratory birds and harbours many rare species.
Another special thing about this area is that there are two species of vipers that can be found here: horned-viper and the common viper.
Some of the problems which threaten the ecosystem of the park are the waste, the intrusion with invasive species, traffic pollution in the gorge, but also illegal deforestation and the small hydro powers plants which have negative effects on the river’s flow.
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